Catching feelings: Kagiso Lediga

Dinah Ramonyai

Catching feelings is a new South African romantic comedy directed by and starring Kagiso Lediga and featuring Pearl Thusi. The film is Kagiso Lediga’s debut film, and it premiered at the LA Film Festival in June 2017, as well as in New York at the Urbanworld Festival. Although we are only getting it in South African cinemas now, the film has already been nominated for awards and it has done well on the international film scene.

The Johannesburg set movie follows Kagiso Lediga as Max Matsane, a character that can be described as a somewhat bored and cynical former writer and academic who is married to Sam Matsane, a beautiful socialite and journalist brought to life by Pearl Thusi. The film explores the highs and lows of a modern relationship in this new contradictive and fast moving South Africa, and it takes an interesting turn when an older white hedonistic writer named Heiner Miller (Andrew Buckland) moves in to stay with the couple. After spending time in Australia, Heiner brings with him booze and drug filled nights, coupled with wild sexual adventures.

The Johannesburg setting of the film makes it relatable and brings it close to home. Catching Feelings touches on the elements of the lives of the black middle class, and how this class has grown to be accepted in our communities and normalised. The struggles around it and the truth in the narrative are brought into the open by the financial strains and self-identity issues that Max, once a best-selling author, goes through in the film. The elements address real life issues like the reality of having a spouse in the ever expanding Johannesburg who has no desire to be part of a typical suburban family. This exploration of the sides of love, relationships and trust takes place over the scores of music from the likes of Hugh Masekela and Letta Mbuli.

A glimpse of the life of a white man going through a midlife crisis in the current South African climate shows a side of the coin that is not often talked about. This element gives the film a perspective that makes it one of the best films to come out of our country. As expected, Kagiso’s commentary on the inequalities of blacks and whites in the country surfaces as a conversation about race and privilege is raised.

“I racialize everything because I’m South African. It’s my culture. It’s how I was made” . This film is a refreshing comedy that also begs us to look at the issues right before our eyes.The truth about the states of the classes is exposed in a bitter, yet necessary storytelling and is chased down by the laughs we find throughout this tale.

 

Image: JoburgTimes

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